Maybe the 17th month is the charm.

June, a month that once held so much marital promise for XM Satellite Radio (NASDAQ:XMSR) and Sirius Satellite Radio (NASDAQ:SIRI), is coming undone.

"The commission could act by the end of the second quarter,'' FCC Chairman Kevin Martin announced three weeks ago. He seemed to be sticking to plan last week, when he suggested during a CNBC interview that his agency "will hopefully be able to do something on it soon."

Two developments in recent days now seem to get in the way of XM becoming a June bride for Sirius.

  • is reporting that Martin has scheduled a mid-June trip to meet with regulators in Asia. Even if Martin is able to provide his decision on the satellite-radio merger to his fellow commissioners, the review is unlikely to be completed until July.
  • The Wall Street Journal is reporting that U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, trying to get to the bottom of meeting FCC requirements that mandate interoperability of XM and Sirius receivers.

Delays are natural in questionable deals. Regulators aren't supposed to rush to decisions. However, this is also a proposed merger that regulators have been weighing for more than a year. With both companies hemorrhaging financially, the delay is either keeping a pair of desperate companies from dreaming up stand-alone survival strategies or denying a combination's synergies.

Satellite radio seemed so cool a few years ago, but where are we now? XM and Sirius are still growing subscriber counts through carmaker installations but faltering on the retail front. Things are even worse overseas, where WORLDSPACE (NASDAQ:WRSP) recently got its creditors to agree to the deferral of debt payments. That rarely ends well.

Scalability appears to be the solution to saving XM and Sirius. The pending merger would achieve that. However, those still holding June claims in the office betting pool may want to see if they can trade them in for later picks.

Anyone have extra bandages for XM and Sirius? It looks as though they're going to need a few.

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